Annan's team strikes half-way
deal in talks
Story by NATION Team
15. 02. 2008
The agreement reached after two days of talks to end Kenya’s post
election political crisis will be revealed Friday.
Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan will make the negotiation
details public at a news conference at the Serena Hotel, Nairobi.
Representatives of the Government and ODM flew back to Nairobi
Thursday afternoon but declined to discuss the outcome of their
talks at Kilaguni Serena Lodge in the Tsavo National Park. The
discussions will resume in Nairobi on Monday.
Kenyans are pinning their hopes on this latest round of talks for
an end to the polls stalemate which erupted into violence killing
more than 1,000 people and displacing 350,000 others.
What was agreed
A statement issued by Mr Annan’s spokesman Thursday said: “Mr
Annan will return to Nairobi tomorrow, Friday 15th February. He
will speak to the Press at 5 pm at the Serena Hotel to outline
what was agreed in 48 hours of discussions in a location outside
of the capital.” The statement added: “Mr Annan will make
available the text of the Agreement signed today by both parties.”
It emerged that both sides are agreed on the need to have some
accommodation of ODM MPs in the government, but differ on details
In the discussions, it is understood that the government side
argued that the terminology “power-sharing” should be excluded
from any pact.
It was also understood that the government side argued for a
non-executive prime minister to serve at the pleasure of the
They also want the President to decide who from ODM should join
the Cabinet, comprehensive constitutional review within a year,
and for President Kibaki to serve the full five year term.
ODM participants, on the other hand, were understood to have
proposed that the roles of the President as Head of State, be
separated from those of Head of Government. This would mean either
that the position of prime minister be created to serve as Head of
Government or a new office such as Chief Minister.
They were also understood to have argued for a two-year transition
period for fresh Presidential elections to be held
In other developments, US President George W. Bush, who heads to
Africa this week, said he had asked Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice to go to Kenya with a message to the leaders that there must
be a full return to democracy.
End the crisis
“In Kenya we’re backing the efforts of former UN Secretary-General
Kofi Annan to end the crisis,” President Bush said in a speech on
“And when we’re on the continent I’ve asked Condi Rice ... to
travel to Kenya to support the work of the former secretary
general and to deliver a message directly to Kenya’s leaders and
people: there must be an immediate halt to violence, there must be
justice for the victims of abuse and there must be a full return
to democracy,” he said.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga accuses Kibaki’s team of rigging
the vote, while Kibaki says he won fairly.
Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Miliband repeated statements by
British government officials that they do not recognise the
current Kenyan government as representing the democratic will of
the Kenyan people.
“We share the urgent desire of Kenyans and our international
partners for all Kenya’s leaders to show the flexibility to turn
this post-election crisis into an opportunity, and establish the
basis - through Kofi Annan’s mediation - for a lasting solution,”
he said in a statement.
But Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Martha Karua said
no agreement had been reached.
Speaking on arrival at Wilson Airport, Ms Karua asked foreign
diplomats to stop giving their views on the mediation talks since
Kenya was a sovereign state.
“It is unfortunate to note that some diplomats are abusing Kenya’s
hospitality by giving their unsolicited views on the mediation
“I would like to remind them we are not a colony... I urge them to
refrain from such behaviour and adhere to the diplomatic
convention of not interfering with sovereign states,” said Ms
On the Kilaguni talks she said: ‘‘Optimism is not the same thing
as reality. We have not reached any agreement but we are
The Kenya Air Force plane carrying the ODM and PNU mediation teams
touched down at the airport at exactly 5.42pm.
First to disembark from the plane was ODM Pentagon member Musalia
Mudavadi who was followed by colleague William Ruto, Aldai MP
Sally Kosgey, Ms Karua, Foreign Affairs minister Moses Wetangula,
MP Mutula Kilonzo and James Orengo among others.
Sources familiar with the talks said the agreement signed involves
details of discussions between the two sides up to the time of
The sources said that both Government and ODM needed to get fresh
brief from their principals, President Kibaki and ODM leader Raila
Odinga. Mr Odinga was said to have gone into a meeting with Mr
Mudavadi at a Nairobi hotel later in the evening to get a briefing
on the talks.
There were high hopes and anxiety Thursday as Kenyans and
international community waited for the outcome of the mediation
talks to end political crisis in the country.
Mr Annan’s Panel of Eminent Persons, the ODM and Government
negotiators moved to Kilaguni lodge on Tuesday to avoid publicity
and have better environment for conclusion of discussions for
short-term solutions to end the crisis.
The former UN boss, who was appointed by the African Union to
spearhead the negotiations, had set Thursday evening as deadline
to arrive at solutions.
The ODM and government sides had promised to arrive at short-term
solutions to help restore peace and stability in the country
within seven to 15 days from January 29 when the talks started.
Long-term solutions are to be agreed upon within a year. A source
close to the negotiators said they were Thursday evening working
round the clock to beat the deadline before making a formal
announcement on outcome either Friday or Saturday in Nairobi.
Before flying to Kilaguni Serena Lodge to fine tune the deal, Mr
Annan hinted that coalition governments had worked elsewhere as a
way out of political crisis
His proposal of a possible grand coalition attracted an outcry
from PNU with Ms Karua saying the matter had not been discussed at
the talks and misrepresented her party’s position.
Mr Annan later clarified that his statement was only a proposal
for further discussion.
Both ODM and PNU have tabled proposals for a power-sharing
agreement at the talks. The government side is however said to be
against fresh elections but ODM says this was the only way to
ensure justice to Kenyans.
Ms Karua is leading government team of negotiators who include Mr
Wetangula, Education minister Sam Ongeri and Mbooni’s Kilonzo. The
ODM side is led by Mr Mudavadi, backed by Eldoret North MP William
Ruto, Orengo (Ugenya) and Dr Kosgei (Aldai).
Others in Mr Annan’s panel are former South African President
Nelson Mandela’s wife Graca Machel and former Tanzanian President
Mr Annan has led the politicians in listing four key issues to end
the current crisis and prevent future one.
The issues include an end to violence, ensuring human rights and
security of all Kenyans, resettlement of displaced people and
giving them humanitarian assistance. The other issue is how to
address political crisis resulting from disputed presidential
The long-term issues include constitution review, land and legal
The European Union, United Nations and a number of countries have
since warned those bent on scuttling the talks of dire conseqences
saying they would not allow Kenya to collapse.
Nearly 600,000 people have fled their homes especially in Rift
Valley, Central, Western, Nairobi and Nyanza provinces.
Mr Annan is understood to have made it clear that while the
international community was playing its role in urging for a quick
political solution, the real players in the political game
shouldered the responsibility of ending the conflict.